The Settle Loop is a popular walk for walkers and cyclists. The whole walk is dominated by the beautiful limestone scenery of this area. The tracks are good as it passes through isolated farms, stone walls and sheep.
The Settle Loop is not planned for walkers. It is a public bridleway designed and promoted specifically for cyclists, walkers and horse riders. However a walk on a quiet Sunday convinced me that there were not too many cyclists to spoil it. Not only was it suitable, it was excellent. Without doubt it is the best way to explore the limestone upland scenery which lies between Settle and Malham. Although there are long stretches of bridleway the variety of views are consistently interesting. The classic Dales farm at Stockdale, the appearance of Malham Tarn and the long reaching views of Pen y Ghent and Ingleborough are just some of the highlights. However it is the consistent exposed limestone rock which will leave most indelible memories.
There are some options throughout the walk to leave the bridleway and I have included them in the walk. One of these is the detour through the corridor of Attermire Scar and past the caves above Settle. Victoria Cave is also worth the short scramble. Here is a cave which was home to hippos, rhinos, hyenas and even brown bears. Nearby Jubilee Cave may also have housed these unlikely beasts.
Make sure there are no cycling races/rallies when you choose to do the walk.
On the southern leg of the Settle Loop you need to keep an eye out for the path heading north. Miss it and you will end up in Malham. It is just before the third gate from the higher point of the walk above Stockdale Farm. The land is about to drop, go downhill and you ave missed it.
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